University and college campuses are believed to be peace havens where students can study without any security lapses or any emergency situation. All education institutions ought to implement an effective campus crisis response plan in order to avert disasters. It is however unfortunate that campuses have in recent times become soft targets for criminal elements. Such emergencies are mostly fatal because the students are usually unarmed. Their level of preparedness in the event of such occurrences is also low.
Equipping students and staff with knowledge about how to respond to disasters is the most essential step when coming up with the plan. By educating them about disaster management, they will have the necessary knowledge and react appropriately and in accordance to any situation that arises. They will also know how to act and shield themselves from any harm.
To enhance security in and around campuses, highly qualified security personnel must be hired by administrators. Funds should be set aside for security and disaster management operations. Security staff should be fully equipped so that they can carry out foot and vehicular patrols around the institutions. This way, disasters can be detected and prevented before they happen.
Crisis response centers should be set up on the university and college grounds to help evacuate victims in case of an urgent situation. Such stations will be the nerve centers of emergency rescue operations because that is where the police, ambulances and other relevant personnel will be contacted from. The facility must be centrally located on the campus grounds and be easily accessible to staff and students during the disaster.
A database containing mobile contacts and email addresses should be integrated into any crisis management plans because this is the only way information can be disseminated. During a tragedy, as many people as possible can be reached by a single text message, email or voice message. This can also be used to control the affected and move them to safer places where they can be helped.
Resources ought to be dedicated to the production of guidebooks. Such manuals must have guidelines on how those affected need to respond to a crisis, where to seek shelter and need to have necessary contacts through which assistance can be sought.
Maintenance of a symbiotic working relationship with the neighboring community and relevant state agencies is vital when coming up with an on-campus crisis response stategy. These are usually the first people to be contacted. Forming partnerships with them will ensure that during crises, their assistance can be easily gotten. Campus administrators however need to make arrangements to secure equipment such as fire engines and ambulances to avoid overstretching the available ones.
Finally, the plan needs to be regularly reviewed so that it is in harmony with the ever changing human needs and social trends. Employing a resident psychologist is important in ensuring the psychological well-being of employees and students. These should be professionals capable of giving counseling in the event of a tragedy.
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